Monday, April 15, 2013

Health and Wellness

The first thing I really wanted to focus on was my health. I had that scary doctors appointment last year when I said I was interested in having kids within a few years, and she responded that I needed to loose weight now or else I'd end up weighing a number that I never thought could be reach. Scared me straight.

I've always been the heavier sibling, heavier cousin, heavier friend. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm sad, bored, alone, or just because. And to add to the fire, I love cooking...

It's been about 9 months now of heading to the gym and trying to loose weight. I have dropped a couple lbs here and there in the past, but put them back on as soon as I stopped concentrating on what I ate. It hit me a couple weeks ago when I came home from a bad day at the gym balling my eyes out. "I'm sick of being fat!" I wailed at my husband. But all he can do is comfort me, because this is my own struggle that I've had since I was 12 years old.

So in conjunction with my Happiness Project, I said "enough is enough!" I have come up with my list of things to do, yes to loose weight, but also to just be healthy. If I'm not happy and healthy, I'm not going to be proud of the way I raise a family. I want good habits now, so that when there are lil ones running around, I can help them.

Gym (5 times a week)
Run a 5K in 2013
Brush teeth every night
Wash face every night
Vitamins everyday
More fruits and veggies
Drink 8 glasses of water a day

I set things that I know are doable and helpful. They are small tweaks to my life that need to be lasting changes to help my overall health. So, now after the 9 months, and a couple sore muscles and joints I am 10 lbs closer to my goal weight.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back on the Band Wagon

Its really easy to fall off the horse. They are large animals that tend to buck every now and then. And after you have been ever so gracefully removed, the horse looks a lot larger this time around.

But then again - that is what Spring is all about - NEW BEGINNINGS. A chance to start again with a fresh slate.

So I haven't been doing too great with all of my resolutions/goals. I have been able to still maintain a strength in my health. I have been going to the gym and have even started to loose a few lbs! But that bowl of mac and cheese calls me ever so often, and that bowl is always a bottom-less pit of yummy gooey cheese.... *wipes drool from mouth*

SPRING - its has sprung. Or so mother nature tells me. My tulips are blooming, the herbs are growing, the jackets have come off. Spring has sprung into the east coast with peaks of 80 degree weather. (less than thrilled) So I am taking this beautiful spring day to jump back on the band wagon and get back into the groove (who doesn't like to dance - if they tell you they don't, they're lying to you!)

Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Return to Normalcy

Ok, I was suppose to start blogging a couple of weeks ago and I failed at that. I have been falling short on many of my goals lately. I think one of the problems I have with the Happiness Project and goal setting in general is that often I find it easy to come up with excuses why it just isn't possible to do whatever it is I'm suppose to do. That and I have a horrible memory and a habit of doing the same thing after work every day. I need to come up with mantras that get me motivated to change my habits.

Today at work a friend and I were discussing doing what you are passionate about. She asked me what I love to do. I love to sit on my butt and watch TV. Unfortunately that doesn't earn me any money. I love getting lost in a good sci-fi/fantasy book or series for weeks and months at a time. Also not something that earns me money. I think this is part of my feeling that I just want to do everything. I want to learn to code. I want to learn how to assist the dentist. I want to learn how to manage an office. I want to do everything. I can't do everything though, and I know that once I start doing something new I won't necessary like it as much as I thought I would. So I have to grow up and figure out something that I can do well, even if I don't love it, and then get someone to pay me for it. I think for me that this is going to be coding, because, really, the internet isn't going anywhere.

So some of the goals I am going to start getting back on track with...

Learn to code
There's this awesome app for the iPad called iTunes U that has a whole bunch of college courses for free. Specifically there's an intro to computer science course from Harvard. I started it a couple of weeks ago. Made a couple of monkeys jump on a bed and then stopped. I am going to start that up again. I just finished satisfying my TV addiction with The Vampire Diaries, so I really have no excuse not to spend and hour a night watching the next lecture or doing the next assignment.

On top of that a friend of mine is starting a food truck business and wants me to do her webpage. This is an amazing opportunity for me and instead of starting it I have been moping about things that have happened that I have no control over.

Go Swimming
You were calling me for awhile to get me out of bed to go swimming. It worked well. And then I decided that I could get out of bed myself, and I can. I still get up every morning at 5, I just don't follow through. Part of my excuse for this one is that my swim suit is too big and I constantly feel like my boobs are going to fall out of it. As great as that would be for the lifeguards and the male swimmers, it'd be kind of embarrassing for me. Now in reality, I'm a good 90% sure that this is not going to happen, but I'm still self conscious about it. Why don't you just get a new swimsuit that fits, you ask? Because then I'd have to get my ass out of bed at 5am and part of me likes having the excuse to sleep for another hour. No more!


Swimsuit purchased and on it's way.

Finish the Couch to 5K program I started last fall
Granted my iPhone was stolen, so I can't use the couch to 5K app I had anymore. Also it's winter and I'm not very keen to run on ice. Both of those are excuses. We have this handy dandy membership to the YMCA which I am using to go swimming. And they have an indoor track at said Y. So maybe I should get off my ass and just go run in circles for awhile. Any amount is more than I am doing now and will help me on the way to a 5K. And when I get a new phone (in a couple of weeks) I can get the app again and zoom through the first couple of weeks and feel good about myself.

I think in this setting myself back on my goals I have come up with some rules of my own that I know are always my down fall when I try and do things:

No excuses
The past is in the past
Stop watching TV (non productive TV that is. I watch the iTunes U lectures on TV.)

There's only three right now, but I'm sure I'll come up with more as I go along.

Right now I think I'm going to work on these three goals as I seem to have a problem with adding lots of things to my routine. I think these are three easy ones I can add without too much disruption. And I can even alternate the swimming with the running in the morning so I don't have to find "extra" time to do it. Because I know myself and I would use the "I don't have any time" excuse in a heartbeat.

I think your idea of posting your rules around. For me, right on the TV will be a good place for them. Also, I may have to make a background for my phone so that it's in front of my face when I hit snooze in the morning. Though I did label my alarm "Get your lazy ass out of bed and go swimming." It at least makes me feel a little bad about hitting snooze.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lisa's Happiness Rules! (double entendre intended)

Weather they be a manifest, commandments, rules, or just sayings - we all have that personal code we stand by.

Gretchen Rubin established a set of "rules" to help her through her Happiness Project. These were sayings she lived by, things she already knew but ones that brought her happiness and helped her stay happy. So I have started the list of the things I mutter to myself when really all I want to do is scream out loud. They are my mantras I repeat to myself when that person in front of me doesn't hold open the door.

Less is more.
No, really, take that last piece of jewelry off. Simple things can often be the most efficient. Its about taking that moment to realize that the clutter isn't always as beautiful as simplicity. But it even goes further. Maybe you don't need to tell the whole story that's going through your mind, only use the highlights (or maybe just don't say anything)

You get what you give.
Why yes that is the name of my favorite song courtesy of the '90s one-hit-wonder The New Radicals. But think about it, its karma bitch. I'm not going to get mad at the person in front of me who didn't hold open the door, because I didn't hold it open for that old lady yesterday. You want a birthday card from your friend you haven't talked to in 5 years? Then maybe you should send one out to. Its about the balance of give and take. I want my husband to notice that I do the dishes everyday, but I have to give something back in return.

It is what it is.
Ok, so this wan't my saying. It came from A. But his saying has become my saying. If you can't change it, don't worry about it. Its not worth your time and effort of stressing if its never going to change, or if you don't have control. Sometimes you just have to do what your boss tells you it.

No Bullshit.
Cut the crap! If its something that has to get done, just do it - NOW. Don't wait till tomorrow, don't put it on a sticky note, because guess what - sticky notes loose their stickiness and fall away. Then all of a sudden you find yourself paying late fees on all of your bills and in a mountain of debt with no clean underwear and ants crawling over your dirty dishes (partly true). To quote Nike - "Just do it!"

Pay attention.
I know it can be hard. But take a moment and listen. (Put down the sponge, turn, look, and listen) You don't need to see all the small details, but noticing the small things can help make you appreciate whats important.


I'm kind of tacking this one on as a whim. But the word has been circling through my head of late. I'm almost using it as a reminder to myself. "No, you do love this". Coming from Philly now, the word is everywhere too. Love Park in Philadelphia is a symbol of brotherly love. It is important to put love out into the world. Love the people in your life. Remember that you do love to do your hobbies, they aren't chores.

Be Honest. 
Yes, listen to what your mother taught you "Honesty is the best policy." But what I have realized is that it's important to be honest with yourself. I hate doing dishes. But what I really hate more is the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. So "Cut the crap" and do your chore. I hate dirty clothes lying around. Instead of letting them lay around waiting for someone else to pick them up, I do it - because I hate to see them there. Realize why you are doing something, and not just that you are doing it. There is a reason, what is it?

Practice what you preach.
I'm writing this blog right? So I have to be accountable to it. I can't let you down. I have to do what I say I'm going to do. Which is also true for may things - pay your bills, go to the gym. Just don't lie to yourself. You'll let yourself and the ones you love down.

Ok - that turned into me preaching like I know everything... Sorry!

But these are the things I tell myself. I have found that these little reminders are the things that keep me going. I can also say that I have said them to myself in my head and my attitude changes. I stop being negative and just feel a little lighter.

Of course, the "code" doesn't always work, and its not always the first thing I think of. But its important. They are things I want to get better at also. I'm thinking of posting them somewhere, or maybe just a few that need more work get posted here and there. As a knitter, its a WIP (work in progress).


Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm in!

Ok Sister of Mine,

I am on board with your Happiness Project. The last time I attempted to do this it got derailed. Like things do. Then again, I didn't have you. I had flakey friends that flaked out. (I still love them, but I just need less flakey if I'm going to do this properly. Mostly because I'm kind of flakey too.)

I like in Gretchen's book how she pointed out that it's not that she wasn't happy, she was. She just wasn't as happy as she wanted to be. That was the part that speaks to me. I am happy. I love my life. I just want to tweak it a bit and feel happier. Maybe happy isn't necessarily the best word. I want to feel more fulfilled... maybe... I don't think that's the right word either. I feel like I waste a lot of my time watching T.V. I get a large amount of enjoyment out of watching T.V., so I don't know if it is exactly a waste. But there are so many things that I want to do and there are so many things that I know I could do. Productive! That's it. I want to be more productive with my life.

So the last time I tried to do this, we stuck to the one thing a month plan that Gretchen did, but we just didn't start in January. We started with some random month and just went from there. I found a couple of things hard about this method:
  1. I don't have 12 things that I want to work on. I felt stretched and pressured to come up with 12 things and then it stopped being about making me happier. 
  2. From month to month I just concentrated on that month's thing and let the other things go by the wayside.
  3. When I did try to carry things over into the next month I got stressed out. Also I got stressed out if I didn't complete things by the end of the month because I felt like I had failed. I didn't like that. 
I think your idea of picking things that you want to work on and then working on them a little every month is a good idea.

So I did a little research and apparently it takes - on average - doing something 66 days in a row to have it become a habit. Depending on how difficult it is. (As I said, a little bit of research. I found this article, which referenced a study. Seems legit. Those words will probably be my downfall.) That's about 2 months. So I propose we do this whole Happiness Project for 3 months and re-evaluate at that time to see if we need to try something different or maybe just try harder. ;)

In that vein, here are the things that I want to work on for the next three months:
  • Health
  • Communication
  • Career
  • Organization
  • Nerding it up (aka Increase my Awesomeness)
  • Getting out of my shell
I'm not really succinct with some of those, but I'm not sure how else to put them. Some of these things are pretty self explanatory, some of them may require more explaining, but I know what they are and I think that's what's really important.

In the organization vein, I think we should re-organize this blog a little bit. Also, I think we should push each other to blog every day. Even just a short "I hate doing this and I don't have time for it. Here's what I failed at today. Make me feel better now." kind of post. I think this will help us with communicating back and forth. Since we're not always available at the same time it will let us be able to be there for each other throughout this process. We both have iPad's now and there's this app. I will not comment on it's awesomeness as I haven't used it yet, but it should help with the blogging process. I contend that when you're off getting poked in your nose you can still blog and then post them all in one large blog. See Cindy's early blog posts for an example.

In the reorganization of the blog vein: Every post should be tagged with your name and one of your Happiness Project thingies that you want to work on. That way we know what the other person wants to work on. Also I can add a menu item so I can jump to your posts and you can jump to my posts. Which will be especially handy if one or the other of us fails on the blogging every day.

Let me know what you think.

I cannot wait!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My New Happiness Project

Sister -

Since this past Christmas of 2012, when I opened your present of "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, I have taken a couple seconds every day to realize what it is that makes me me, makes me happy, what I have already gotten from my last 26 years and what I want out of the next 26+ years. I know I have come far through many hiccups, but know I want to go somewhere further.

I have now been out of college for 4 years.
I graduated with a degree in a field that was exactly what I wanted to do.
I found a job in the field I graduated in.
I have progressed in that field and have a great start to my career.
Though all this I have lost a wonderful parent, but also found my best friend and begun a wonderful life together.

So now what....? I am on track to check off all the boxes I ever imagined that I wanted.

Yet somehow I still had the feeling that I was just floating through my life. Considering my life is wake up early, commute to work, work, commute home, gym, dinner, 1 hr to relax, sleep, repeat. And weekends became routine also, either little trips to visit with family or planning for the next week while trying to get through chores to keep the small apartment clean. I had stopped reading, knitting, sewing, drawing, painting, and the list could go on to include all the additional hobbies I had while growing up. What had changed? Was I really "too busy" to do anything I had interests in anymore?

The answer of being "too busy" was just not satisfying.

That's how I have come to the beginning of my Happiness Project. It's my hope to find balance through what appears to be daily chaos and rekindle my older interests and hobbies. Below is the list of the things I want to work on to balance myself.

Creative Projects
Mental Stimulation

Gretchen Rubin took her year and divided her subjects of interest by month. She had her rules to live by and specific resolutions to obtain each month. I don't really like this method, and considering it took me sometime to finish the book, we are now at the end of February and I would be "behind". There is no reason to start off "behind". These topics are things I see that need to be developed for my entire life. They are each individually important and require that specific balance. I aim to touch on each topic often and keep coming back to them repeatedly.

This is where you come in sister!!!! You will be my help system, to allow me to have a checks and balance of sort. I can come here and touch base with you to maintain my resolutions and goals for each topic and allow be to vent and celebrate the progress.